The milestone age of 65 conjured up a lot of negative paradigms and more than few fears for me. I experienced several more bouts of Who Am I Now and identity crisis syndrome.
However, I am delighted to report that I did survive 65 and in fact, I thrived!
(And just to make this past year more memorable, a global pandemic blanketed six of my twelve months.)
When I was younger, the number 65 was held up as the peak of an adult life and pretty much everything after that was the downslope of meaningful contribution to society and family.
I came from the generation programmed to think grandmothers were handy babysitters and hosts of Sunday dinners. They deserved respect but were not expected to create anything new or significant.
Rearview speaking, senior citizens and retirees were viewed as expensive liabilities in society and gatekeepers of inheritances.
I am so glad that I have outgrown that limited thinking! Finally, I am mature enough to know the truth!
65 is an exciting new age and stage of life! If you embrace that attitude, 65 comes with a lot of firsts and opportunities.
In the past year, I qualified for health insurance coverage under Medicare and I received the first of my Social Security payments.
I've been smart enough to use my senior discounts since they first became available to me at age 60, and with some generous merchants, even as early as age 55.
65 included learning and navigating the complexities of systems that were created to benefit the baby boomers. Five decades later, I have worked, paid taxes and contributed to multiple economies long enough to deserve any rewards that are offered to me by establishments or governments.
However, benefits aside, I have no intention of claiming a rocking chair!
Hell No! I choose to retire only from the things I do not like to do!
It's humorous to note that decades earlier I thought the people aged 65 looked so old! Now that I am among them, I realize they are, for the most part, vibrant and active, and as my grandmother would have said’ “Still full of piss and vinegar!” (see footnote)
Age 65 is still associated with a lot of stigma, especially for women. Women like me and members of my group “Evolutionary Women” are changing that rapidly!
I celebrated my 66th birthday while recording an episode of Transformation Decoded YouTube series. The episode entitled “Call Me a Hag and I’ll Thank You!” was inspired by a brilliant piece featured on BBC The Social.
The spoken word poem by Sarah MacGillivary is “A Poem for All the Old Hags”. I included a link to the video below.
This thought provoking, paradigm detonating prose was the perfect birthday inspiration for me!
The young poet’s lyrics explain perfectly how negatively labeling older women is a practice that has been perpetuated for centuries and it is damn time that it stopped!
My personal mantra ‘Lift as you Climb’ envelopes the philosophy that women can raise each other up by sharing our experience and tactic knowledge, even as we continue to learn and grow and transform ourselves.
Thank you Sarah MacGillivary!
Yes Please! Call me an Old Hag and I will thank you!
Hag or nay, I certainly did continue to learn, grow and transform throughout my 65th year.
I published my first book, launched my first online program, collaborated with others in new ways to create value, reconnected with friends and business connections, and much more.
I certainly learned a lot about my own capabilities and priorities during the pandemic. (see footnote: "What the Hell Happened to that Year”)
65 was a year of many firsts for me, and though there are times when change is uncomfortable and scary, I am grateful that I have opportunities to continue to dig deep, face the fears and become an even better version of me.
Contrary to my younger-self ideas about the suggested ‘final frontier’; the age of retirement at 65, I now know this is simply the beginning of the next most exciting stage and phase of my life.
I am certain the next 20 years will bring OH SO MAMY more firsts for me.
What does the next 10, 20, 30 years look like in your vision?
Footnote: During the 1920s vinegar was used to mean vitality and energy and that's the meaning in 'piss and vinegar' and 'pep and vinegar'. At that time many phrases indicating a general perkiness and vitality entered the language, often for no other reason than linguistic exuberance.
Enjoy the entire Transformation Decoded conversation, at "Call Me a Hag and I Will Thank You!", watch the video and share it with your coven of exceptional hags!
You may also enjoy: "What the Hell Happened to that Year" in which the three femmepreneurs look back over the highs, lows and learnings of the past twelve months.